GM could link worker pay to vehicle performance

A view of GM Europe in Luton, England.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: In Detroit, the International Auto Show continues. Thousands of enthusiasts are converging on the Motor City to see the newest and brightest of the American car-making lineup. Meanwhile, talks of new union employee contracts are set to get underway in earnest by summer. And General Motors says it could -- could -- tie pay for hour and salaried workers to vehicle performance.

Chrissie Thompson is automotive reporter for the Detroit Free Press. She's with us live from the floor of the auto show at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit. Good morning Chrissie.

CHRISSIE THOMPSON: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: How's this going to work?

THOMPSON: Mark Reuss who's the President of GM North America wasn't exactly clear on that. He said that these sorts of pay incentives are being under consideration for both hourly and salaried workers. And whether that comes in the form of a bonus if they hit their quality targets or whether it's tied to profit sharing or something else wasn't exactly clear.

CHIOTAKIS: So this is going ot have to be worked out in the months to come before these negotiations get under way this summer right?

THOMPSON: Absolutely.

CHIOTAKIS: How does this fit, Chrissie into the bigger picture of labor relations between the United Autoworks and General Motors?

THOMPSON: Before GM's bankruptcy the UAW made quite a few waves in benefit concessions to help GM stay afloat. And now that the company is doing much better, there is a lot of pressure to try to get some of those concessions back, or get some sort of incentive or reward. And this could be a way that the company could do that without hurting it's bottom line. In other words they would give this incentive after they had made a profit or had done really well on the quality of their vehicles.

CHIOTAKIS: Would it cut both ways Chrissie. If a car underperformed would the worker be on the hook?

THOMPSON: It doesn't usually work that way. Usually there's a base salary that they will receive and then tehy would get additional money if they hit the quality target.

CHIOTAKIS: So this is about making the car better.

THOMPSON: That's right. And you know there are other ways to penalize plants so to speak, but I get taking work from them if they don't get quality product. So there are incentives to keep their jobs.

CHIOTAKIS: Chrissie Thompson the Automotive Reporter for the Detriot Free Press. Chrissie thank you.

THOMPSON: Thanks so much.

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